One of Asia’s most prolific sports media companies has decided to commit to eSports by organising a high-profile tournament and securing former UFC mixed martial arts (MMA) champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson as its chief brand ambassador.
ONE Championship said it intends to invest up to US$50 million (A$69 million) into a separate entity called ONE eSports to create Asia’s largest global eSports Championship Series.
The newly formed ONE eSports will be supported by a host of companies including Esports Mogul (ASX: ESH), Razer Inc, Dentsu and Singtel.
ONE eSports is expected to feature multiple blockbuster game titles and hold multiple eSports events alongside ONE Championship martial arts events next year.
The consortium of eSports focused companies hope to commercialise the rapid emergence of eSports in Asia – a market segment that’s flourishing on the back of more people gaming than ever before and improving internet connection speeds.
To extend the popularity of eSports and to court an existing audience focused on MMA, ONE Championship has chosen to leverage the pulling power of Demetrious Johnson, that was recently acquired from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) with a trade of Ben Askren, as its brand ambassador.
Demetrious Johnson’s passion for gaming is well-known to fans of mixed martial arts, with the MMA star already amassing a loyal following on Twitch, a popular live streaming platform.
“It is with great excitement that I announce ONE eSports, Asia’s largest global eSports Championship Series,” said ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
“We see a natural crossover between martial arts and gaming fans in Asia and an opportunity to bring them together under Asia’s home of millennial live sports,” he said.
As part of ONE Championship’s move into eSports, Esports Mogul has secured a role to organise and stage what could turn out to be one of Asia’s most exclusive eSports series. Courtesy of its deal with ONE Championship and its partner Dentsu, Esports Mogul will take the reigns on bringing an eSports championship to a primarily Asian audience in 2019.
Following a memorandum of understanding signed by Esports Mogul’s partner, Razer Inc and Singtel, the trio of eSports-focused companies plan to create an innovative eSports tournament that attracts millions of avid gamers across Asia.
Esports Mogul has said its involvement with the ONE eSports championship series will not only springboard user acquisition but also drive awareness of the Mogul brand within Asia – currently the company’s prime target market.
Leveraging ONE Championship for Asian market commerce
Headquartered in Singapore, ONE Championship is currently considered as one of the world’s largest martial arts organisations, hosting bouts across various styles such as mixed martial arts, Muay Thai, kickboxing, karate and kung fu.
ONE Championship says it considers itself as “the largest global sports media property in Asian history,” that hosts the largest sports entertainment events in Asia. The organisation seeks to keep brand recognition and popularity at peak levels by featuring some of the world’s best martial artists and world champions and signing them to exclusive contracts that further its own brand recognition.
Some of its recent high-profile public relations activity has included signing world-famous martial arts stars such as Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez – two prized MMA fighters with significant fan bases.
Johnson and Alvarez will be guests at ONE Championship 83: Heart of the Lion, a high-profile event due to take place later this week at Singapore Indoor Stadium. As the lead organiser, ONE Championship will stream the event to its audience via its proprietary app.
In addition to its digital platforms, ONE Championship broadcasts to over 1.7 billion potential viewers across 138 countries around the world with some of the largest global broadcasters, including Fox Sports, ABS-CBN, Astro and SkyNet.
Branding for glory
In a supplementary move, Esports Mogul has also completed a rebranding exercise that better aligns its ongoing activities in the eSports industry.
The rebranding exercise includes the implementation of a brand-new logo across all Mogul-owned platforms including Mogul Arena and Mogul News, which Esports Mogul says is “comprised of a powerful image evoking ideas of the gaming world.”
The company said that ‘Mogul’ is now an “umbrella brand” because of its multiple features that stand independently, thereby opening up opportunities for “individual partnerships” which Esports Mogul CEO Gernot Abl, expects to deliver “more room for growth” in the coming months.
“Esports Mogul is excited by ONE eSports commitment to creating Asia’s largest global esports Championship Series in 2019 and is looking forward to working with Razer and the other partners in staging the online tournaments on Mogul,” said Gernot Abl.